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Web Quests




The students have been asked to research common first names using information from government websites. They are then to use this data to recommend the 10 most popular boy's names and 10 most popular girl's names to a company that manufactures nameplates for children. As the students look at the data provided at each of the websites, they will begin to see that, although there are similarities, the most popular names vary somewhat from province to province. They will also find that the popularity of certain names has changed over time. Students may wish to investigate popular names for the current year, or they may realize that it might be better to investigate popular names of past years. Although it is not important to introduce this level of sophistication in reasoning, it is worthwhile to explore the change in popularity, and to compare it to the names of the students in the classroom.


  • Collect, sort and organize data.
  • Create graphs with scales.
  • Interpret and describe data from graphs.


  • Some students may find that some websites present too much data for them to sort and organize.
  • Begin with the article about common names on Nova Scotia. This data is presented in paragraph form and gives the reader information about 2002 and 2001. At the end of the article there is a simple chart presenting the top boy's and girl's names.
  • Students who have difficulty finding an appropriate scale should be encouraged to begin with a pictograph that uses counting by 5's or 10's.
  • Students who require a challenge can be encouraged to create a pictograph and a bar graph, using computer software, for each of the sets of data.


  1. Discuss common first names that they know, either among their friends or in the classroom. Tell the students that when a baby is born, the parents must register the birth with the city and the province. Some provinces then keep a record of the most popular names each year. Have the students guess what the most popular girl's name and boy's name might have been for the year they were born.
  2. Read the Introduction and the Task with the students. If possible, show them an example of the type of nameplate that might be manufactured by the company. Discuss why it would be important for the company to choose the correct names to place on the nameplates.
  3. Place the students into groups of 3. Have them decide which websites each will explore, with each student taking responsibility for 2 of the sites. Keep in mind that the data at the Alberta site may be the most challenging to organize because of the amount of data that is given.
  4. Provide students with blank organizational charts and paper to create pictographs and bar graphs.
  5. After the students have created their individual graphs, have them move back into their groups of 3 to compare the results, come to conclusions and write their recommendations to the company.



Blank organizational charts
Grid paper for graphing
Rulers, pencils, coloured pencils
Graphing software such as Graphers® (optional)


Popular names in Nova Scotia

Baby's Most Chosen Names in Saskatchewan

Baby Boy's Names in Alberta

Baby Girl's Names in Alberta

Baby's Most Chosen Name in British Columbia

Most Popular baby names in the last 120 years


Organizational Charts form

           Letter form




Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Sort and Organize Data

•  Sorted some data for one province by identifying some popular names.

•  Sorted all data for one province by identifying the 20 most popular names.

•  Sorted and organized correct data for most provinces by identifying the 20 most popular names.

•  Sorted and organized correct data for all provinces by identifying the 20 most popular names.

Create Graph

•  Created a graph - scale may not be appropriate or accurate.

•  Frequent and major errors made.

•  Created one graph using an appropriate and accurate scale.

•  Few major errors in graph.

•  Created several graphs using an appropriate and accurate scale.

•  No major errors in graphs.

•  Created graphs for each set of data.

•  Scale chosen allows graphs to be compared.

•    All graphs are correct.

Interpret and Describe Data

•  Description of graph is incomplete or rarely uses math language.

•  Recommended 20 names may not be related to the graph.

•  Description of graph is generally clear, using some math language.

•  Recommendations are based on information in the graph.

•  Explains the similarities and differences in the graphs.

•  Uses the data appropriately to form recommendation.

•  Clearly explains the patterns in the graphs and uses data from all the graphs to form recommendation.